CIVIC leaders in Liverpool called for powers to ban marches by neonazis and other racists yesterday after fascists caused chaos in the city at the weekend.
North West Infidels, an offshoot of the far-right English Defence League, demonstrated for more than two hours on Saturday, throwing bottles, flares and other missiles while protected by riot police.
They had said they would march in Manchester, but that was a ruse intended to mislead anti-fascist activists and they targeted Liverpool instead.
The 50 or so thugs, many dressed in black and wearing masks, did not notify Merseyside Police of the plan.
They spent an hour in a pub, which became surrounded by anti-fascists, before police let them march to St George’s Hall.
A student and a police officer were taken to hospital after being hit by fascist missiles.
None of 33 thugs arrested was from Liverpool.
On Monday, Liverpool Labour councillors drew up an emergency motion calling on the Home Office to give the city’s elected mayor powers to ban such racist provocations. The power currently rests with Home Secretary Theresa May.
Mayor Joe Anderson, who proposed the motion, vowed to write to Ms May, saying: “I am asking for a change in the law to give mayors the ability to stop these events taking place.”
“This isn’t about banning free speech but about banning people who incite racial hatred and nazi views.
“Together we will always win against those who travel from outside the city for the sole purpose of spouting racist ideology and causing conflict within our communities.”
There is also concern at the police handling of Saturday’s events. It has been argued that, as the march was illegal, police could have simply turned the fascists back at Lime Street railway station. Instead, they received protection.
Merseyside Trades Union Council president Alec McFadden and Unite Against Fascism’s Paul Jenkins called for an examination of the police response.
Last August, neonazi group National Action attempted a “white man march” in Liverpool, but participants were unable to leave Lime Street station because of the number of counter-demonstrators.